Offensive fireworks, dominant pitching highlight wins for AlabamaBy Ben Boynton | 02/26/2017 5:52pm
After cruising to a big win against Gardner-Webb early Friday afternoon, the Crimson Tide’s second game against Texas Tech was a much tighter affair. Holding just a 1-0 lead coming up to the plate for the bottom of the sixth, Alabama was looking to add some insurance to its lead.
With seven runs in the sixth inning, it did just that.
“[Texas Tech pitcher Mattison Maisel] really did a nice job for her five and a third [innings]. She was very frustrating and hit her spots and changed speeds, she did a great job,” coach Patrick Murphy said. “I think [sophomore left fielder] Merris [Schroder] had the first key hit, and then after that we took advantage of a lot of walks…then we finally got the key hit with [senior right fielder] Chandler [Dare] and kind of buried them.”
After previously defeating the Red Raiders 7-2 on Friday night, it took until the fifth inning for the Crimson Tide to get on the board. Schroder hit an RBI single down the right field line to drive in sophomore pinch runner Mari Cranek for the winning run, and the Crimson Tide ended the game an inning early with its seven runs in the sixth.
The game served as senior pitcher Sydney Littlejohn’s Senior Day, and she allowed just two hits in her 5.2 innings, adding eight strikeouts.
“It was a great opportunity to get a little extra love on a day and just go out there and do what we always get to do,” Littlejohn said. “It was a lot of fun, and a lot of people look at it as pressure but it’s not, it’s just a fun opportunity…It was a great day, and every single person contributed and so I think that’s what the highlight was.”
The Crimson Tide used to have one Senior Day for all of its seniors, but Murphy said he felt having each senior get their own day is better.
“That’s one of the best performances we’ve had on a Senior Day,” Murphy said. “Sometimes it can be really tough because you have all kinds of family here and friends, and a lot of times they get really nervous, but I thought that was one of the best ones we’ve ever had.”
In the first game, the offense got out to a fast start and powered Alabama to victory, as the Crimson Tide won 9-0 over Gardner-Webb in five innings. The offense got ten hits in the game and put it away early with a six-run second inning. Seven different players got base hits in the game. Junior catcher Carrigan Fain and junior first baseman Peyton Grantham led the team with two RBIs each. Fain went 3-3 in the game, and added a fourth hit in the Texas Tech game.
“I just felt really confident at the plate today,” Fain said. “All week we’ve all been working really hard for the pitchers coming this weekend and we’ve done a lot of drills and stuff, and I’ve just been seeing the ball pretty big all week, so this weekend I felt pretty good.”
Sophomore Madi Moore carried a perfect game into the fourth inning before ultimately allowing just two hits and one walk. Moore committed two errors in the field herself, but maintained the shutout, getting out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth before retiring the side in the fifth to win the game.
“When she came out, she was throwing fire,” Fain said. “She was hitting all of her spots, and you could just kind of see it in her body language that she had control of the field, and even when we had a couple runners on…she didn’t let it get to her. You could tell that she was ready no matter what and everybody had confidence in her.”